I've been getting quite a few emails from people worried about the future of TFA. Does baby #2 means things are shutting down for a while? My LYS says they aren't stocking your yarns anymore, are you closing shop? I think it's about time I answer these questions and let you in on how we plan to work with our family's expansion.
We are absolutely not closing shop, not shutting down, not going away! Sure, running a home based business with babies is a handful, but keep in mind that TFA is both Chris and my full time job. We are not hobby dyers, it's our livelihood, parental leave does not exist and that's all part and parcel of what we do. However, because we learnt a lot the first time around and think that we have a better grasp of what life is like with a newborn (though no clue what life is like with a newborn and a two year old) we've taken several steps to be better prepared to welcome our bundle of joy into the world. I want to make sure that we're giving ourselves a chance to enjoy every minute we can soak up with our new baby, without compromising our work too much.
We are less than 2 weeks away from my due date (gulp!) and the only major plans we have are to increase our predicted turnaround time for orders from 1 week to 2, giving us a bit more wiggle room. This is your official warning! I've added a banner to the top of the site announcing the potential delay so you'll know what to expect before placing an order. I've also added the info to your receipts as a reminder. Email responses might be a little slower than normal, and blog posts will likely be less frequent, but other than that, it'll be business as usual!
We will also be taking a few weeks off this summer to spend time at our family cottage in beautiful Nova Scotia. We make this a priority every year and seriously don't think we could get through a year without it.
Long before Rowan was born we started scaling back our wholesale operation. Years ago we were represented in a lot of LYS', something which is wonderful if you've got the capabilities to maintain the kind of volume production that LYS' require. It became clear that working from home, just Chris and I, we couldn't keep up with both the LYS side of the business and the ever growing direct-to-customer-sales via our website side of the business. We had to streamline production and the only thing that made sense to us was to continue to supply our yarns to knitters all over the world via direct sales rather than drowning in wholesale orders that we weren't able to handle on our own. With the impending arrival of our second baby we've streamlined our business even more. As hard as it was to have to part ways with our favourite LYS', we just couldn't keep stretching ourselves so thin. The only LYS stocking our yarns in the future is our local hangout, Espace Tricot, here in Montreal.
That's why a few shops have recently been advertising that they are on their last bit of TFA inventory. We are almost exclusively an online shop now. I love LYS', but I also love being an online shop! I love that every time a knitter opens a parcel of TFA yarn, it's like opening a gift that I was personally able to wrap up and send to them. Just about everything is dyed to order, so quality control is very easily maintained. It's a real blast for me to get to interact with so many knitters. It also means that we are able to occasional manage more creative projects like Etsy updates, new colours and kits, patterns, the Club... These types of things are so incredibly rewarding so making time for them is a must.
Will we move out of our home studio, hire staff and become a booming business able to take on every LYS that comes our way some day? Maybe... but not now. I'm still very attached to our small business approach, it works for us. Straying too far from the small family business that we've worked so hard to establish makes me very nervous. But we do have big dreams and I'm aware that I can't do everything myself. I'm quite certain we'll add to the TFA team of worker bees (currently consisting exclusively of Chris and I) someday soon, but we're going to let ourselves enjoy the summer as a new family of four before making any big decisions.
So that's it! We're incredibly excited about the impending arrival of our newest family member and can't wait to introduce him or her to you all. Of course, there is always the (hopefully unlikely) possibility that things don't go according to plan and we are forced to slow down or step away from work a bit more than we had hoped to do, but one of the things I've learnt after years of working for knitters is that you are the loveliest and most understanding people in the world to work for! We'll do our best, we'll keep you up to date on any dramatic changes, and knowing that you're all here supporting us makes these transitions so much easier to deal with.